It has been over a year since we lost Daniel. On February 28, 2020, we were devastated when the Suffolk County Grand Jury issued a No Bill and did …“Truth will come to light…At length the truth will out.” William Shakespeare
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE, SENATORS, AND THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE & HOUSE ARMED SERVICE COMMITTEE TO EXPRESS YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE I AM VANESSA GUILLEN BILL.
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, and Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), along with co-leads Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), John Carter (R-TX), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Pete Olson (R-TX), Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-TX), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Jason Crow (D-CO), and Will Hurd (R-TX), and 94 additional co-sponsors, introduced the I am Vanessa Guillén Act in honor of the late SPC Vanessa Guillén and the many survivors of military sexual violence who have bravely come forward in the wake of her disappearance and brutal murder. The legislation responds to these resounding calls for change by offering provisions that would revolutionize the military’s response to missing servicemembers and reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault by making sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice and moving prosecution decisions of sexual assault and sexual harassment cases out of the chain of command. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate today. This morning, following a meeting with the Guillén family, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a commitment to hold a House floor vote on the I am Vanessa Guillén Act. President Trump previously announced his support for the bill during a White House meeting with the Guillén family.
SPC Guillén’s disappearance and brutal murder became the catalyst for long overdue change when her family refused to let her case be neglected by Army leadership at Fort Hood. The Guillén family supports the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act, and Chair Speier is also leading a congressional delegation this weekend to Fort Hood to further investigate matters at the base and speak with servicemembers at all levels about their experiences and how best to accelerate the cultural change that is so urgently needed.
Specifically, the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act would:
-Move prosecution decisions on sexual assault and sexual harassment cases outside of the chain of command to an Office of the Chief Prosecutor within each military service;
-Create a standalone military offense for sexual harassment;
-Establish trained sexual harassment investigators who are outside of the chain of command of the complainant and the accused;
-Create a confidential reporting process for sexual harassment that is integrated with DoD’s Catch a Serial Offender database;
-Require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the military’s procedures for finding missing servicemembers and compare with procedures used by civilian law enforcement and best practices;
-Require both DoD and GAO to conduct separate evaluations of the military services’ Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) programs; and
-Establish a process by which servicemembers can make claims for negligence and seek compensatory damages against DoD in the case of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
“Military leadership has repeatedly failed to reduce sexual harassment, sexual assault, and violent crime at Fort Hood, one of the worst sites for attacks according to Army officials, and throughout the armed forces,” Chair Speier said. “The endless cycle of harassment, assault, and retaliation for those who speak out reveals the deep roots of a toxic culture we must eradicate so that survivors are taken seriously and treated with respect, and assailants are held accountable. The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act would do this by providing survivors independent investigations for both sexual harassment and sexual assault reports and independent charging decisions for courts-martial. It would also make sexual harassment a criminal offense in the military, helping get to the core of an issue that too often leads to violence and destroys careers, and lives. The Guillén family and legions of former and current servicemembers are demanding bold change. Congress must seize this moment and deliver on that demand for change by passing the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act.”
“The issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue – it’s an American issue,” Congressman Mullin said. “We must strengthen the military’s ability to protect its most important resource, which is the people who willingly sign-up to protect all Americans. The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act will also encourage survivors to come forward to report sexual assaults and sexual harassment and to provide justice. This is about protecting our men and women in uniform and I will keep fighting so no family has to go through what the Guillén family has gone through.”
“From the moment I started working with the Guillén family in May, I made it clear I would not stop until we found Vanessa and got justice in her name,” Congresswoman Garcia said. “The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act of 2020 is a transformative and comprehensive bill that will help save lives and give our soldiers an avenue to report sexual assault and harassment without fear – a lasting legacy in honor of Vanessa. I want the Guillén family to know that Congress, the Houston region, and the entire world stands with you and we won’t stop until we get justice for Vanessa.”
“First and foremost, my heart goes out to the Guillén family, no one should ever have to experience the pain they’ve experienced,” Congressman Carter said. “The men and women that selflessly serve our nation deserve to feel safe to report misconduct and feel confident that their issues will be fairly handled. There is absolutely no place for sexual misconduct in the United States military and we must take these steps to ensure that accountability is realized.”
“The unspeakable tragedy of Specialist Vanessa Guillén’s murder has shed new light and revealed to the American public the epidemic of unchecked sexual harassment and assault that too many service members have suffered,” Congresswoman Escobar said. “Specialist Guillén – and all servicemembers – deserve respect and justice, and it’s our obligation to protect those who bravely put their lives on the line for our country. We can’t continue the same approaches that have failed victims. Congress must respond to this moment of reckoning with new solutions to tackle this epidemic and pass the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act.”
“The tragedy that befell PFC Vanessa Guillén was horrific and reflects a growing problem in our Armed Forces. Our military members should never fear harassment or violence while defending our nation,” Congressman Olson said. “As a Navy veteran, I’m proud to support the I am Vanessa Guillen Act, which is an important step towards getting justice for PFC Guillén and other service members like her. It ensures there is a stand-alone military offense for sexual harassment and requires the GAO to review how our military processes missing service members in cases of suspected foul play compared to civilian law enforcement. By working together and demanding accountability, we can prevent the next tragedy. Our military must maintain higher standards and we will not be silent on this issue.”
“Year after year, we see an increase in reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment in our military and the same statements from military leadership about how unacceptable they are. It’s far past time we take bold action to bring accountability to the system and give survivors support,” Congressman Cisneros said. “In the memory of Specialist Vanessa Guillén, Republicans and Democrats are coming together to make legislative fixes to protect our men and women in uniform. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the bipartisan I am Vanessa Guillén Act to provide the necessary support and resources for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment in our military. Our servicemembers and military families deserve to have the peace of mind that they’ll be heard and treated with dignity and respect.”
“Ohio is home to thousands of active duty servicemembers who risk their lives for our nation, and in return, it’s our country’s obligation to ensure their safety,” Congressman Balderson said. “In honor of Vanessa Guillén, this legislation will take important steps to ensure survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment in our military can tell their stories without retribution and seek the justice they deserve.”
“As a soldier, I remember going to basic training to learn everything from marksmanship to the chain of command. The military is supposed to train new recruits on the essential tasks of the job, but we still don’t do nearly enough to address sexual assault in the ranks. We need to make sure we are creating a system and culture of accountability in the military to protect our women and men in uniform. For too long, sexual assault and violence has gone unaddressed,” Congressman Crow said. “The military failed Vanessa Guillén but I refuse to let Congress fail her or her family. It is Congress that decides what kind of military we have and now it is Congress’ responsibility to step up and pass the I AM Vanessa Guillén to protect our women and men in uniform.”
“We must work to ensure what happened to Vanessa Guillén never happens again,” Congressman Hurd said.“The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act of 2020 will protect soldiers like Vanessa by ensuring independent investigations occur in assault and harassment cases. This will better safeguard our soldiers from retaliation and help prevent these atrocious acts from ever happening in the first place.”
“Vanessa Guillén’s story makes painfully clear the need for a better response to sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military,” Senator Hirono said. The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act knocks down barriers to reporting sexual harassment and sexual assault and directly addresses the culture that protects the perpetrators of these crimes. It’s time to make a system that respects and protects survivors.”
The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act will fundamentally reform reporting and investigation of sexual harassment in the military and transform prosecution of sexual harassment and assault by empowering an independent prosecutor, within each military service, to bring charges. The bill will also allow servicemembers who were sexually harassed or sexually assaulted to pursue monetary claims against DoD and will also require a comprehensive GAO review of the military’s sexual harassment and assault prevention and response programs, as well as the military’s procedures for responding to missing servicemembers.
A fact sheet and the text of the bill are attached to this press release.
Introduction of I Am Vanessa Guillen Act:
In the News:
Hearing: “The Military’s #MeToo Moment”
Rep. Speier, family of murdered soldier Vanessa Guillen on legislation in her honor
Lawmakers introduce the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act
Watch Live | #IAmVanessaGuillen Bill introduced in D.C.
Bill honoring Vanessa Guillen introduced in Washington D.C. Wednesday
Speaker Pelosi to reportedly bring ‘I am Vanessa Guillen’ Act to U.S. House floor for vote
Vanessa Guillén’s family members speak about the “I Am Vanessa Guillén Act”
What is the ‘I am Vanessa Guillen’ bill?
“An internal report, obtained by Military.com through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that gang members were tied to dozens of Army felony law enforcement reports and more than 100 criminal investigations in fiscal 2018, the latest year for which data is available. While these reports and investigations make up less than 1% of all Army law enforcement incidents, the new report shows that the little-discussed problem of military gang activity continues to be a headache for base commanders and other service leaders.”
FY2018 Army Crime Report
Gangs in the Military: Armed and Dangerous Forces (December 23, 2010)
‘Gangs and the Military: Gangsters, Bikers, and Terrorists with Military Training’ by Carter F. Smith Released (September 15, 2017)
Yet another body was recovered near Fort Hood army base in Texas. This is the fourth dead soldier found there in a month, further adding to the compound’s robust history of violence and harassment toward personnel. -RT America (July 29, 2020)
My Last Breath by Suzie Caballero Turner, Gold Star Family
Ft. Hood tried to cover up 2 other deaths,
When Greg and Vanessa took their last breath.
Lying to the family, wouldn’t tell them the truth,
Hoping no one would ask, their story runs smooth…
But there is a group, Gold Star Families their name,
Who knew much better, Ft. Hood is the blame.
But this is much bigger than sexual assualt you see,
This is about soldiers killing him, them, and me,
About Heroes who once fought for us,
But when one dies, we can’t make a fuss.
Don’t get me wrong, sexual assault is a crime,
And those who commit it, better do the time,
But this situation is bigger you see…
It’s about lies told when they killed me.
Told my family I put a gun to my head,
But a soldier in arms is why I am dead,
My family knows better, you’re telling a lie,
They know for a fact, that’s not how I’d die.
A medical death, how quickly you lied,
Another soldier is the reason that I died,
His corruptive lifestyle, I didn’t agree,
So he thought he’d go on and silence me.
I’m only a Sgt, take orders from command,
What they tell me to do is out of my hands,
The mission they gave me, sounds dangerous to me,
Tried to talk to command, but they just disagree.
Now the mission’s over, just like it played in my head…
So they try to blame me, because we all end up dead…
It took them a month to find me and my car,
They didn’t realize that they took this too far,
Sending my phone signals to my home state,
Hoping my family will just take the bait,
While they decide what they’re going to say
About what happened to me when i died that day.
Suicide is what you tell my wife…
Multiple stab wounds from somebody’s knife
She knows me better, knows you’re telling a lie
She knows this isn’t the way I would die…
Commander and others like treating me bad,
So I finally stood up, only got them mad,
So now I am unresponsive, face down on my bed,
Another soldier in arms is why I am dead…
Healthy as ever, pass each PT test,
Taking care of me, doing my best,
All of a sudden, I fell on the floor,
All they tell my family, “She’s not breathing any more.”
Lie to my family, not medical death,
But a coward soldier who took my last breath.
These are just a few of the hundreds of deaths,
When our own fellow soldier took us from our last breath,
It wasn’t at war, not by the other country,
But one of our own who ended my life for me.
Higher command tries to diffuse the crime,
By making up a story and not doing the time.
Lying to the family, saying stories untrue,
Making families think there’s nothing they can do.
This needs to stop, too many have died!
Too many families to whom they’ve lied!
Now it’s time to make things right!
By telling the truth and letting us fight,
Fight for our loved ones who can no longer speak,
Because the truth is all we seek!
To demand the truth about their death,
And who made them take their last breath!
They deserve respect, justice, and closure too,
So quit being a coward and do what you’re supposed to do,
Start acting like the soldier you signed up to be
So families again, can believe in humanity!
Don’t get me wrong, we can’t blame them all,
We can’t expect all of Ft. Hood to fall,
For all the corrupt cowards who led a hero to death,
And watched him as he took his final breath.
This isn’t just happening on Ft. Hood you see,
This is happening within all military,
Some of these deaths are Marines, and Navy too,
Every military branch has got quite a few…
But just like the corrupt ones, not all of them are bad…
There are also some good ones who the corrupt ones make mad..
There are many true soldiers still left you see,
Who are doing what’s right, fighting for him, her, and me,
So don’t disrespect a true soldier in any way…
Because of what corruption may have played out today.
So weed out the cowards and take them away,
Throw them in a prison for taking our loved ones that day…
Dear Vinton Today,
We want to personally thank you for not only honoring Spc. Mason Webber in your publication but for also acknowledging all of the Fort Hood Fallen since January 1, 2016. It means a lot to us and to the families that their loved ones have been recognized and that our fellow Americans care about all the men and women who have lost their lives while stationed at Fort Hood. We appreciate you.
Read more from Vinton Today here: Salute to the Fallen honors SPC Mason Webber with Motorcycle Ride (July 20, 2020)
1/3: Devin Schuette, 35, U.S. Army (found dead at BLORA near post, death ruled suicide, family wants independent investigation, suspicious death)
1/5: Jonathan “Mike” Gilotti, 33, U.S. Army Veteran (homicide victim, Alabama)
1/16: Troy Wayman, 45, U.S. Army (officer found dead, ruled suicide, Nolanville)
3/6: Sean Van Der Wal, 25, U.S. Army (fatal auto accident off post, manslaughter)
3/14: Brian Reed, 40, U.S. Army (found dead w/ gunshot wound off post)
3/20: Andrew Poznick, 45, U.S. Army (officer found dead in Pennsylvania)
3/22: Steven Lewis, 33, U.S. Army (died of self-inflicted wound off post)
5/1: John Stobbe, 31, U.S. Army (found dead off post, cause of death unknown)
5/9: Ellsworth Raup, 33, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident off post)
5/23: Marcus Nelson, 45, U.S. Army (died while in pre-trial confinement at local jail)
6/2: Christine Armstrong, 27, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Brandon Banner, 22, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Miguel Colonvazquez, 38, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Isaac Deleon, 19, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Zachery Fuller, 23, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Eddy Gates, 20, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Tysheena James, 21, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Yingming Sun, 25, U.S. Army (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/2: Mitchell Winey, 21, U.S. Military Academy (died in flood water training incident on post)
6/5: Antino Glass, 34, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident on post)
6/6: Bernardino Guevara Jr., 21, U.S. Army (died of gunshot wound on post)
6/8: Duane Shaw, 34, U.S. Army (found dead in off post home in Killeen)
6/11: Dougal Mitchell, 32, U.S. Army (fatal automobile accident off post)
7/12: Alexander Johnson, 21, U.S. Army (found dead at BLORA near post, cod unknown)
8/1: Logan Rainwater, 24, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident off post, Killeen)
8/4: Calvin Aguilar, 32, U.S. Army (found dead off post, cod unknown)
8/19: Dion Servant, 24, U.S. Army (found dead on post, cod unknown)
9/10: Stacy Hardy, 20, U.S. Army (died of injuries sustained after a high-speed motorcycle crash while fleeing from the the Killeen Police Department)
9/13: Andrew Hunt, 23, U.S. Army (officer found dead at on post residence, cod unknown)
9/17: Nathan Berg, 20, U.S. Army (died of gunshot wound off post)
10/7: Bradley Acker, 25, U.S. Army (death was self-inflicted at off post residence)
10/15: Douglas Bailey, 24, U.S. Army (found dead at on post residence, cod unknown)
10/19: Douglas Riney, 26, U.S. Army (ambushed by lone gunman in Afghanistan Army uniform)
11/3: Dakota Stump, 19, U.S. Army (found dead on post 3 weeks after went missing, cod single vehicle accident, suspicious death, family wants ‘Missing Warrior Alert’ law)
11/10: Daniel Monibe, 32, U.S. Army (died of medical illness off post)
11/12: Tyler Iubelt, 20, U.S. Army (suicide Bomber on base, Afghanistan)
11/12: John Perry, 30, U.S. Army (suicide Bomber on base, Afghanistan)
11/16: Kevin Paulino, 24, U.S. Army (died of self-inflicted gunshot wound in Indiana)
11/18: Korey James, 21, U.S. Army (found unresponsive in off post home, cod unknown)
11/26: Wanya Bruns, 20, U.S. Army (died of gunshot wound off-post)
12/6: Allan Brown, 46, U.S. Army (suicide Bomber on base, Afghanistan)
12/24: Paige Fontenot Briles, 21, U.S. Army (found dead in vehicle at on post family housing, suspicious death, family wants case investigated as a homicide)
1/1: Kai Yancey, 26, U.S. Army (died after complications from short illness)
1/2: Randal Anderson, 22, U.S. Army (died of gunshot wound off-post, Killeen)
1/7: Barron Von Reichelt, 24, U.S. Army (fatal auto accident on South Range Rd on post)
1/11: Alex Taylor, 23, U.S. Army (death ruled suicide, found dead at place of duty on post)
1/12: Zackary Partin, 24, U.S. Army (found dead in barracks room on post, cod unknown)
2/5: Steven Hines, 29, U.S. Army (death ruled suicide, CID Agent found dead at place of duty on post after media exposes bizarre cluster of suicides & accidents on post)
2/6: Christie Anderson, 44, U.S. Army (found dead at off post residence, cod unknown)
2/17: Michael Garcia, 29, U.S. Army (died in vehicle training accident at Fort Irwin NTC)
2/18: Sean Callahan, 31, U.S. Army (passed away unexpectedly in Iowa, cod unknown)
2/21: Brian Odiorne, 21, U.S. Army (non combat death in Iraq, death ruled suicide by CID)
2/27: Andre Nance, 34, U.S. Army (found dead on post at Fort Rucker, AL, cod unknown)
3/26: Jonathan Garcia, 29, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident off post, Harker Heights)
4/7: Daniel Wildeman, 40, U.S. Army (found dead on post in barracks, cod unknown)
4/11: Darius Cooper, 40, U.S. Army (declared dead by board of inquiry after missing for two months, vehicle swept away in low water crossing on post)
4/16: David Ananou, 30, U.S. Army (death by apparent drowning at Belton Lake)
4/17: Justin Lewis, 19, U.S. Army (fatally shot near vacant lot in Killeen neighborhood, unsolved homicide)
6/15: Devon Tucker, 21, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at off post residence in Copperas Cove)
7/3: Anthony Lovell, 40, U.S. Army (multiple blunt force injuries, death ruled motorcycle accident by Killeen PD & Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences)
7/11: Justen Ogden, 22, U.S. Army (death ruled suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound, found at on post home, family claims circumstances surrounding death don’t add up)
7/14: James Smith, 24, U.S. Army (fatal motorcycle accident off post, under investigation)
7/26: Deangelo Mathis, 22, U.S. Army (found unresponsive in Georgia)
8/2: Zachary Moore, 23, U.S. Army (death ruled suicide in S. Korea, an investigation revealed the Army was not able to get qualified medical help in a timely fashion)
9/12: Sean Devoy, 28, U.S. Army (died in fall during helicopter hoist training at Fort Hood)
10/5: Derrick Walker, 40, U.S. Army (died of a long-term illness)
10/7: Michael Wolfe, 33, U.S. Army (passed away unexpectedly in Arizona)
10/12: Alva Gwinn, 39, U.S. Army (shot self after ‘wellness check’ & high speed pursuit with Killeen PD)
10/12: Angel BenitezQuinones, 32, U.S. Army (found unresponsive on post)
10/14: Sameer Chalise, 28, U.S. Army (died due to injuries while swimming with friends)
10/14: John Hatfield, 27, U.S. Army (died of a gunshot wound off-post in Killeen)
10/18: Luke Toomey, 21, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at off-post residence in Copperas Cove)
1/6: Mark Boner, 43, Indiana Army National Guard (Army: ‘It’s unclear at this time what led to his death’)
1/8: Javion Sullivan, 24, U.S. Army (non-combat related incident, Iraq)
1/18: Tyler Compton, 21, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at off-post residence in Harker Heights)
3/1: Colton Vassar, 29, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at on-post residence)
3/3: Devon Wulff, 23, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at on-post residence)
3/26: Aigner Certaine, 24, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at off-post residence, Killeen)
3/30: Cameron Macias, 21, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
(FORT HOOD STOPPED ISSUING PRESS RELEASES NOTIFYING THE PUBLIC OF THE DEATH OF A SOLDIER)
4/6: Samson Johnson, 20, U.S. Army (passed away while stationed at Fort Hood, cod unknown)
6/29: Kevin M. Brown, 38, U.S. Army (passed away unexpectedly while stationed at Fort Hood, cod unknown)
7/30: Timothy Jurgens, 19, U.S. Army (died by suicide according to the family)
9/2: Lewis Davies, 20, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/11: Richard Ramirez, 36, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/15: Jason Decker, 23, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/17: Jose Lamas, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/17: Michael Vanlandingham, 30, U.S. Army veteran (shot & killed in Copperas Cove, Dana Francis Walcott, Jr & Owen Thomas Free III guilty of capital murder, drug related)
9/23: Albert Christian, U.S. Army (exact date of death unknown, unknown cause of death, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
9/25: Justin Justice, 36, U.S. Army (unknown, passed away while stationed at Fort Hood)
11/8: Jacob Casebolt, 21, U.S. Army (died in tactical vehicle rollover accident at Fort Hood)
11/20: Craig Noble, 51, U.S. Navy veteran (civilian found dead in vicinity of BLORA, Fort Hood)
1/12: Cody Wilshusen, 25, U.S. Army (died in a fatal auto accident in New Mexico)
1/13: Andrew Ortega, 32, U.S. Army (died in training accident at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany)
1/14: Octavious Lakes, Jr, 22, U.S. Army (died in a tactical vehicle accident at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California)
1/22: Kelton Sphaler, 25, U.S. Army (died in an apparent boating accident at BLORA)
2/5: Scott Weinhold, 25, U.S. Army veteran (died in an apparent boating accident at BLORA)
2/6: Caden Shunk, 21, U.S. Army (died in motorcycle crash trying to elude Killeen PD)
2/15: Cassandra Perez, 19, U.S. Army (struck & killed while standing outside her stalled vehicle in Edinburg, Texas, alleged drunk driver Edward Magallan officially charged w/ manslaughter)
2/23: James Hawley, U.S. Army (passed away according to Fort Hood Fallen, official date & cause of death unknown)
3/12: Max Whitwell, 23, U.S. Army (found unresponsive & pronounced dead at Darnall Army Medical Center)
3/29: Erica Atkinson, 35, U.S. Army (found dead in parking lot on post, official cause of death unknown)
3/31: Nathan Ellard, 20, U.S. Army (both drivers died in a head-on vehicle crash in Hearne, Texas after Ellard crossed the center line)
4/24: Tylor Hubert, 24, U.S. Army (died by suicide according to the family)
5/1: Benjamin Hunt, 35, US Army (passed away, official location & cause of death unknown)
5/11: Tyler Groves, 21, U.S. Army (died in a single vehicle accident near Nolan Creek in Nolanville)
5/18: Ryan Brandon, 24, U.S. Army (died after motorcycle collided into the rear of a parked pickup truck in Harker Heights)
6/25: James Johnston, 24, U.S. Army (died of wounds sustained from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations, Afghanistan)
7/6: Edwin Brown Jr., 22, U.S. Army (died in a motorcycle accident, Killeen)
7/21: Virgil Robinson, 26, U.S. Army (drowned after falling from a float at Temple Lake Park on Lake Belton)
7/29: Colton Drye, 22, U.S. Air Force (car crash on highway near Walcott, Iowa)
8/13: Corry Willis, 31, U.S. Army Veteran (according to obituary, fought a brave battle against PTSD, Killeen)
8/15: Andrew St. John, 29, Indiana Army National Guard (died in a military training accident at Fort Hood)
8/19: Gregory Wedel-Morales, 23, U.S. Army (anonymous tip led to the location of a body in a shallow grave in Killeen after CID offered $25,000 reward, unsolved homicide)
10/22: Rodney Hagan, 32, U.S. Army (suicide was likely the cause of death)
11/4: Anthony Gowler, 31, U.S. Army (official cause of death is unknown)
11/6: Nicholas Panipinto, 20, U.S. Army (died of injuries sustained in roll-over, Korea)
11/20: Logan Castello, 21, U.S. Army (died by suicide according to family)
11/20: Kirk Fuchigami Jr., 25, U.S. Army (died in a helicopter crash, Afghanistan)
11/20: David Knadle, 33, U.S. Army (died in a helicopter crash, Afghanistan)
2/1: Eric Hogan, 19, U.S. Army (died after car accident, Highway 195 in Williamson County)
2/1: Anthony Peak Jr., 21, U.S. Army (died after car accident, Highway 195 in Williamson County)
3/1: Shelby Tyler Jones, 20, U.S. Army (gunshot wound, Killeen, unsolved homicide)
3/5: Christopher Sawyer, 29, U.S. Army (found unresponsive at on-post residence)
3/5: Raul Torrez, 24, U.S. Army (passed away while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas)
3/11: Juan Covarrubias, 27, U.S. Army (died when engaged by enemy indirect fire, Iraq)
3/14: Shaquan Allred, 23, U.S. Army veteran (gunshot wounds, Killeen, unsolved homicide)
3/14: Freddy Delacruz Jr., 23, U.S. Army (gunshot wounds, Killeen, unsolved homicide)
3/20: Brandon Brown, 34, U.S. Army Veteran (Harker Heights PD ruled death as suicide by self inflicted gunshot wound, family seeks answers regarding death investigation)
3/23: Michael Wardrobe, 22, U.S. Army veteran (homicide, Spc. Jovino Roy charged)
3/25: Victor D’Onofrio, 22, U.S. Army (died at Fort Hood, cause of death unknown)
3/30: John David Randolph Hilty, 44, U.S. Army (died of a non-combat related incident, Iraq)
4/22: Vanessa Guillen, 20, U.S. Army (homicide, murdered at work on post by co-worker, motive: she had knowledge that now deceased Aaron Robinson was having an affair with a married woman Cecily Aguilar, he killed her to silence her and protect his career)
TWITTER: Shonta Block @ShontaBlock
FACEBOOK: Corruption without justice in the military
JUSTICE: Reasons why the Block family want congressional hearings
PETITION: Justice for Kamisha Block commanding officers are not above the law.
SENATORS: Contact your two Senators here (top left has drop down for state)
REPRESENTATIVE: Contact your Representative here (enter zip code)
SASC/HASC MEMBERS: Click here to contact the SASC/HASC members
OTHER CASES: 15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine and Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
“In August 2007, [Fort Hood Army] Specialist Kamisha Block’s family was told that their 20-year-old daughter had died in Iraq as a result of friendly fire – one shot to the chest. The family was floored. They didn’t quite understand what that meant and they wanted answers. But Kamisha would give them a sign. When Kamisha’s mom, Jane, arrived at the funeral home to see her daughter one last time, she noticed a bullet sized hole on Kamisha’s head that had been covered with makeup. Her knees buckled as she thought – what have they done to my baby girl? And the answer she would get would never quench the Block’s family desire for real answers. Kamisha had been killed intentionally by another soldier – Staff Sergeant Paul Brandon Norris. Norris and Kamisha had been dating on and off for a few months and their relationship was against military regulations.” Listen to Episode 38 on the Military Murder Podcast website here.
UPDATE: Army reopens case of 2007 murder-suicide that was originally called ‘friendly fire’ (Stars and Stripes, April 19, 2019) and Army closes investigation into allegations of a coverup in 2007 murder-suicide in Iraq (Stars and Stripes, June 19, 2020)
Goals and Questions from Kamisha Block’s Family:
1. Hearings to discuss service wide responses to dangerous situations, negligence, and preventable deaths
2. There’s a break down in continuity of ‘no contact orders.’ For example, may be enforced in US but not in Iraq, may be enforced in civilian jurisdiction but not on base, etc.
3. Discussion of how a victim of crime copes when they report and are ignored or they don’t report for fear of their lives, loss of career, retaliation.
4. Brandon Norris was in Kamisha’s enlisted chain of command and was able to manipulate the situation to keep Kamisha under his control. When the Chain of Command learned about the forbidden relationship, one of them should have been moved to address the situation.
5. When the homicide-suicide occurred in Iraq, military members were told not to talk to Kamisha Block’s family. Out of fear, they remained silent until they watched an Investigation Discovery episode outlining what happened in Iraq. Most are veterans now and as a result of time and conscience, they now are willing to come forward and testify at hearings.
6. The service members who were in Iraq are now suffering with what we would refer to as moral injury. They knew the truth, they were shocked the Army told Kamisha Block’s family she died by friendly fire. They were fearful of coming forward while still serving in the US Army.
7. Brandon Norris was problematic before being deployed to Iraq. His behavior was erratic, he was drinking, he very likely could have had PTSD due to prior deployments, and he should not have been sent back to Iraq. When the command found out about the forbidden relationship, they issued a no contact order, which is virtually useless when both parties are on the same small base. They sent Brandon Norris to Iraq knowing there was a no contact order. There were a number of red flags in Brandon’s history to warrant getting him evaluated and medically retiring him. Although PTSD isn’t an excuse for violence, the mental health breakdown that comes with that diagnosis will send someone into a downward spiral if not addressed. These are co-occuring issues. Prior problems with domestic violence and PTSD are a deadly combination if no intervention.
8. When they sent Brandon Norris back to Iraq, it made Kamisha even more fearful because she could not escape him, there was nowhere to turn and she was isolated. The expedited transfer policy needs to be expanded to include all victims of crime and those who are fearful of their lives and trapped in dangerous situations. Did Brandon manipulate fellow leaders to see things his way? Why didn’t they protect Kamisha from Brandon’s escalating violence?
9. Why was the no contact order ignored, why was Brandon not removed from Kamisha’s Chain of Command, why was Brandon sent to Iraq with Kamisha, why did the Army tell Kamisha’s family she died by friendly fire, why was the Chain of Command not held responsible for negligence, why did Kamisha feel like she had nowhere to turn, why were service members told to remain silent, why did it take this long to get Kamisha’s case reopened? Why was Kamisha Block’s case closed before any of the questions were answered? Why was it closed because there was “no evidence” to support one allegation?
10. Why was Kamisha’s computer wiped clean before it was returned to the family? Why was it returned to the family if it was considered evidence? Why would anyone wipe the computer clean when it was full of potential evidence that would help us understand the victimology of Kamisha and what was going on in her life at the time? Service members informed family they were asked to destroy all paperwork and personnel records before Army CID arrived to investigate. Why would anyone destroy evidence needed to evaluate and investigate a homicide-suicide? How can we prevent the Chain of Command from destroying evidence in the future?
11. The morning of the homicide-suicide, it is alleged that Brandon Norris was experiencing a mental health breakdown. Why was his gun not taken from him immediately if there were already concerns about his behavior, actions, and deteriorating mental health state. This is another example of how this tragedy could have been prevented had the Army intervened and sent him home. Again, he should have never been sent to Iraq on a deployment with Kamisha. The no contact order is impossible to enforce if both are in the same unit on the same base in Iraq. Kamisha clearly expressed fear of Brandon and wanted the no contact order enforced, they ignored it. Why? Did they need warm bodies in Iraq? Did Norris manipulate them? Did the chain of command not care about Kamisha’s safety?
12. Why was Brandon sent to Iraq instead of discharged? Why was he not held responsible for an illegal relationship with a subordinate? Why was his mental health and problematic behavior ignored? Why would the chain of command issue a no contact order that can’t be enforced when two service members are serving together in the same unit on the same base whether in the US or overseas? Had any of these things been addressed and investigated, it could have saved Kamisha’s life.
13. Was Brandon Norris taking any medication for his mental health issues? If so, what were the prescriptions and what are the side effects. It is alleged that Brandon was taking ambien to help with sleep in a war zone. If this is the case, what is the responsibility of the mental health professionals or other military doctors who prescribed this medication to him? What is the responsibility of the chain of command if they have knowledge of medications? Do the health professionals and chain of command discuss whether it is healthy for a service member to deploy while on said medications? Did the medications or the side effects of the medications contribute to a downward spiral? Did he abruptly stop taking the medications at any point? Why was his health and medication management not considered before he was sent to Iraq? This puts everyone in danger if the person is not taking medications as prescribed and/or not well.
14. Discussion of Feres Doctrine. This archaic, unconstitutional Supreme Court decision is preventing us from holding key players accountable. Lawsuits are a form of checks and balances in the system. How do we hold the military accountable if we can’t utilize one of the three forms of government to force positive change for all service members in the future? Wrongful death lawsuits help us find the answers we may not get in an investigation or if something was not investigated. Lawsuits are used to force change and prevent the same tragedies from happening over and over. This is not happening in the military as evidenced by years of failed reforms. Preventable deaths are a common occurrence and until we can hold them accountable, nothing is going to change. How do we begin the process of getting the Feres Doctrine overturned? If congressional members do not do their jobs and help family members learn the truth, where do we turn? How do we get a case reopened without re-traumatizing ourselves over and over. It took years for Kamisha’s family to get her homicide case reopened and one year before the Army closed it again. The family wants the chain of command held criminally responsible for what they know was a preventable death. What do families do if Congress doesn’t help them? What do families do if the media won’t help tell their story? What do families do when they want an independent investigation because they question the outcome of the Chain of Command and CID’s investigation?
15. Does the Chain of Command involved in the wrongful death of a soldier deserve to continue serving in the military? Why are they not held responsible for manslaughter or negligence? If their actions or inaction lead to the death of someone under their command, shouldn’t they be held responsible for that death as well? Shouldn’t they be held responsible for not taking care of Brandon or Kamisha when they had the chance? Why was Brandon’s escalating violence and problematic behavior ignored at Kamisha’s expense? How do we hold them accountable when they destroy evidence? How do we prevent them from destroying evidence and wiping computers and phones clean before giving them back to the family?
16. There are a number of female soldiers who have died under suspicious circumstances while deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas locations. There were a cluster of deaths around the time Kamisha died as well. If you study each female service member’s story, it fits a pattern, a pattern recognized in Kamisha’s case as well. It reveals the continued repeated pattern of placing people in dangerous situations with potentially dangerous service members. We need an evaluation of all the non combat deaths overseas to find out what the root causes are in an effort to prevent these suspicious deaths and/or suicides from happening in the first place. Did the service member ask for help, report a crime, etc. before they died. We need to know how and why they died to help us create deployment policy that can be enforced in an effort to prevent a wrongful death. They need the expedited transfer policy expanded to capture all the dangerous situations not related to a sexual assault or rape. This can be used to save the service members life if they chain of command ignores them. The danger increases exponentially in a war-time environment one cannot escape.
17. Lastly what about the impact this has on the loved ones left behind? First off, the families should be compensated for the pain and suffering the military causes them when they question the cause of death ruling or they question what happened to their loved one who died under suspicious circumstances. We must address how the military treats families in these situations. Most don’t even know where to start. They don’t know how the military works. They don’t know the Commander is the central investigator and CID does what is asked of them. They don’t know how to FOIA records. They can’t make sense of records they do obtain because most of it is redacted or blacked out. No family should have to FOIA any records related to their loved ones death. This should be an automatic for them. The system is set up to make the family feel hopeless and give up, and that’s exactly what most do because the current system re-traumatizes them when they learn that no one will take responsibility for what happened under their watch or help them find the answers they deserve to have. They should not be expected to simply accept the military’s outcomes. In the civilian world, they have more access to the case and those involved and it is a proven fact a second set of eyes on a case can be the deciding factor in learning the truth. Military families don’t have this option. They should be assigned a victim advocate and or a special victims counsel like those provided to victims of sexual assault and rape. They should be treated with kindness, not ignored, transferred from person to person, and intimidated. The current system is reinforcing the trauma originally experienced from losing their loved one to a preventable death. This is unacceptable and causes irreversible harm. The truth is all that is wanted and it shouldn’t come at the expense of the family member’s health and wellness.
18. Lastly, what is the role of the FBI? Why is it that they can investigate a case in Nigeria involving folks pretending to be soldiers to scam people of money but they can’t investigate any of the suspicious deaths of female soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. If you do the research and look at how many suspicious deaths of service members occurred overseas, you will see the pattern. Every family who loses a loved one to a non combat death overseas deserves answers and a full investigation of the circumstances if they believe they were murdered or pushed to suicide because they had no way out. We lost a lot of female soldiers to non combat death overseas but we also lost a lot of male service members too. Would the expansion of the expedited transfer policy save their life? Or are they still trapped because current policy dictates their commander make that decision. Why can’t we have a bug out plan for the service members who were ignored like Kamisha? Why can’t we provide them with a plan that safely helps them extricate themselves from a dangerous situation if the chain of command chooses to do nothing because they don’t care or don’t understand how violence escalates?
Questions from Retired U.S. Federal Special Agent:
1. Was SSG NORRIS still legally married to his “third” and last wife at the time the relationship between him and SPC BLOCK initiated at Ft. Hood, Texas…or…elsewhere?
2. If SSG NORRIS was still legally married at the time he and SPC BLOCK became sexually involved, the military offense of ADULTERY, as well as other possible military offenses, was applicable…and…that military crime must not have been permitted to occur without subsequent “mutually applicable” ADULTERY military legal action against both SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK!
3. At the time of his suicide, was SSG NORRIS divorced or still married to his last wife?
4. According to the U.S. Army, upon his death, who was officially designated as SSG NORRIS’ “immediate legal surviving relative”
5. Was there any company level chain of command knowledge of the SSG NORRIS-SPC BLOCK relationship at Ft. Hood, Texas, prior to their respective departures from that unit to the Basic NCO Course (BNOC) (SSG NORRIS) and Iraq (SPC BLOCK)?
6. Must ID and interview their family, close friends and company level chain of command back at Ft. Hood prior to the SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK respective departures, to attempt to determine any possible degree of knowledge about their “pre-departure” existing relationship, which is already somewhat detailed by an unidentified soldier in one of the case’s enclosed CID Sworn Statements.
7. Must clarify, as far back as possible…due to their respective different military ranks…and…probable age difference, where exactly did their relationship commence…at Ft. Hood, Texas…or…elsewhere before that…for example, at the U.S. Army Military Police School (USAMPS), Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri,…or…somewhere in-between…in order to determine for how long their Chains of Command permitted their, most likely UNLAWFUL or at least PROHIBITED, fraternization and personal romantic relationship to exist.
8. When did each of them, SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK, first arrive at their MP Company in Ft. Hood, Texas…and…from where?
9. Obtain copies all written U.S. Army Regulations and policies relative to FRATERNIZATION PROHIBITIONS and “SOCIAL DISTANCING” applicable to Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) (Rank of Corporal to Sergeant Major) and Enlisted Personnel (Rank of Private to SPC) applicable to both SSG NORRIS and
10. Obtain any and all possible evidence of where exactly did both SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK received official information concerning #9 above.
11. When American military personnel are discharged from any military duty, they are issued a DD Form 214, with extensive official individual military history pertaining to promotions, awards, tours of duty, type of discharge, etc. Need to determine what form is issued by the U.S. Armed Forces to the official legal survivors of dead military personnel, and obtain a copy of the ones issued to SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK to see what information they contain.
12. Obtain copies of their respective Death Certificates…what cause and/or manner of death is listed in each?
13. Who, from the U.S. Armed Forces, first officially notified BLOCK’s family of her death…when…where…how?
14. Exactly what was the BLOCK family initially told concerning the cause and/or manner of death of SPC BLOCK?
15. Was SPC BLOCK “posthumously” awarded a “Purple Heart” medal by the U.S. Army?
16. If SPC BLOCK was indeed awarded a “Purple Heart” medal, a copy of the corresponding “Citation” must be obtained, and its obviously FALSE content noted…as it is a medal officially authorized to be awarded ONLY for: “Being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces…”
17. Did the official legal survivor of SSG NORRIS receive any government “Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) payment in connection with any claim for his death by suicide?
18. The Chain of Command should have, upon receipt of the initial complaint against SSG NORRIS, made rapid administrative/personnel arrangements for the separation and transfer of SPC BLOCK or SSG NORRIS completely out of the area, to another overseas assignment or back to a base other than Ft. Hood,
Texas, and into a different MP Company, back in the Continental United States (CONUS)…not merely to transfer SPC BLOCK from SSG NORRIS’ squad to another squad…IN THE SAME PLATOON!
*THE FAILURE TO REMOVE SPC BLOCK AND SSG NORRIS FROM EACH OTHER IS THE MOST SERIOUS CHAIN OF COMMAND NEGLIGENT FAILURE WHICH LED TO THE MURDER OF SPC BLOCK! IF NOT FOR “A” THEREFORE NOT “B!”
19. There was also two(2) appearances or perceptions of possible CONFLICT OF INTEREST at the military law enforcement and criminal investigation level which took place at this crime scene:
a. “Off Duty” Military Police personnel, from SSG NORRIS’ and SPC BLOCK’s MP unit and MP platoon became overly involved at the crime scene, acting as if they were the first responding “On-Duty” MPs, which as far as I can tell they were NOT! At this time, I do NOT recall having read anything, in the E-mailed documents I have thus far received, which details anything about when or which “On-Duty” MPs or CID Agents arrived and took over complete and total control of the chaotic crime scene.
*FOR CLARIFICATION PURPOSES: Unless something has changed of which I am not aware, in the U.S. Army, Military Police personnel exist and perform under a “double supervision” system. They have an “OFF-DUTY” unit of assignment…as in their MP company…under the supervision of that company’s Chain of Command. And, as the need arises, they are basically provided to the “Provost Marshal” (Military Chief of Police) to be under his/her OPERATIONAL or “ON-DUTY” control.
b. In one of the Sworn Statements, it is revealed that one of the CID Special Agents at the crime scene was a former Military Police NCO at the same MP Company and possibly assigned to the same platoon as SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK, back in Ft. Hood, Texas. In that Sworn Statement, that MP witness also stated he had conversed with that CID Agent while in the vicinity of the SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK murder/suicide crime scene…and…that the agent had been one of his MP platoon leaders back at Ft. Hood, Texas…and…he had made a prior courtesy visit to that CID agent at the Camp Liberty CID Office, upon hearing that said NCO was now working there as a CID Agent. Obviously, based on this information, the CID Agent in question applied for the U.S. Army CID Program while he was assigned to that same MP Company back in Ft. Hood, Texas, before the unit was deployed to Iraq. That “SFC” ranked CID Special Agent should have informed his CID supervisor(s) he was formerly an NCO member of the MP Company where the SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK murder/suicide crime scene was located…and…should have been recused from any involvement in the case, ESPECIALLY IF HE PREVIOUSLY PERSONALLY KNEW OR SUPERVISED EITHER OR BOTH SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK FROM HIS ASSIGNMENT AT THE MP COMPANY BACK AT FT. HOOD!
20. Are MEDICS now organically attached to or assigned to MP units? I sensed some of the individuals involved at the crime scene, subsequent to the murder/suicide, were MP-connected MEDICS.
21. A Staff Sergeant counseling another Staff Sergeant about fraternization or anything else? That is strange to me…and…indicative of Chain of Command NEGLIGENCE in delegating this important preventive measure to an NCO of the same rank as the individual receiving the counseling! In my opinion, any and all counseling involving SSG NORRIS should have been done by a higher ranking NCO or a Commissioned Officer, not by his Platoon Sergeant OF EQUAL RANK. I feel such counseling should have been done by either the First Sergeant, Platoon Leader, Executive Officer or Company Commander.
22. Maybe, just maybe, I am just TOO OLD ARMY, but off-post squad parties at a squad leader’s off-post private home…and…drinking beers and going to off-post clubs with my squad leader?! Unheard of for me in my Army days…never happened! In my time there was strict “social separation” between Enlisted Soldiers, Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and Commissioned Officers! Each rank category had their own SEPARATE on-post clubs…ENLISTED CLUB…NCO CLUB…and…OFFICERS CLUB. I’ve got a feeling that, at least in this particular MP company, there was a bit of too much socializing among the Enlisted soldiers and the NCOs…and this, as it does with Commissioned Officers also, is a pure social seed planting environment which blooms into prohibited FRATERNIZATION situations.
23. I suspect that SSG NORRIS came to a realization that he could get away with his fraternizing relationship with SPC BLOCK because he had gotten away with for so long, everyone was looking the other way and in denial…and…no one was really challenging him to not continue fraternizing with her!
24. My gut also tells me that SSG NORRIS’ anger streak was common knowledge around his MP Company, and most of his immediate supervisors and some in the Chain of Command, preferred NOT to confront him and hold him accountable for anything. THEY ROUTINELY GAVE HIM A PASS! And most soldiers were simply afraid and/or reluctant to report and complain about him.
25. I am in total agreement with all critique and comments previously provided about the CID Crime Lab apparent shortcomings.
*Most importantly…WHAT EXACTLY WAS IN THE CELL PHONES AND LAPTOPS! Must demand the transcripts and photos from each of those devices. What was the final legal disposition of those EVIDENCE ITEMS?!
Spc. Kamisha Block, U.S. Army in Iraq (2007)
Vidor family of soldier Kamisha Block alleges cover-up after 2007 shooting in Iraq -12 News Now (February 12, 2019)
Families from across the U.S. held a rally outside Fort Hood demanding answers about the deaths of their loved ones who died while serving. -KCEN News (July 11, 2020)
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | Military Murder Podcast
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | MM Podcast (Player FM)
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | MM Podcast (Stitcher)
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | MM Podcast (Apple)
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | MM Podcast (Podchaser)
Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Requests Congressional Hearings & Investigation of Military Leadership (2007)
Forbidden, Dying for Love Premiered ‘Love is a Battlefield’ on Investigation Discovery: Army Spc. Kamisha Block Died in Murder-Suicide in Iraq (March 13, 2018)
Crimelines True Crime Podcast Featured the Military Murder of Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Baghdad, Iraq (October 20, 2019)
Murderific True Crime Podcast Featured the Military Murder of Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Baghdad, Iraq (December 8, 2019)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
Forbidden, Dying for Love: Six Active-Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery
Love is a Battlefield | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (S3, E1)
Love is a Battlefield | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (website)
Love is a Battlefield | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Spc. Kamisha Block, U.S. Army in Iraq (YouTube)
Vidor family of soldier Kamisha Block alleges cover-up after 2007 shooting in Iraq
Dozens gather to protest for answers outside Fort Hood
“In a letter to a U.S. senator in Arizona, [Thae] Ohu — a 26-year-old administrative specialist with the Marine Corps Intelligence Schools aboard Dam Neck Naval Base — said she’d been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon following a psychological break in April. In a separate letter, her boyfriend said he was the victim of the incident and that he believed the case should be dropped.”
“Ohu was seeking medical retirement earlier this year to get help for PTSD, but the Marines were seeking administrative separation, according to a memo from her defense attorney. That would cause her to lose medical benefits, the lawyer said.”
Petition: Sexual Assault, Retaliation, Injustice – http://chng.it/TDSqBJf7Pz
White House Petition: Release Marine Corporal & Military Sexual Assault Survivor Thae Ohu from Brig; Give Her Treatment & Justice She Deserves – https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/release-marine-corporal-military-sexual-assault-survivor-thae-ohu-brig-give-her-treatment-justice-she-deserves
Facebook: Justice for Thae Ohu – http://www.facebook.com/justiceforthae
GoFundMe: Help Thae Ohu – https://www.gofundme.com/f/bpky2-help-thae-ohu
American Grit: “Thae is a proud Marine and courageous survivor of military sexual assault. For five years she has struggled with being a victim of sexual assault. Our family is devastated that the Marine Corps has chosen to place Thae in a military prison instead of giving her the medical treatment she so desperately needs. We are asking the Marine Corps simply to do the right thing: to immediately release Thae from jail, stop the unjust prosecution against her, and provide her with adequate mental health services. What she needs, and deserves, is treatment and support from a loving community of family and friends. We hope that the Marine Corps will honor its promise to protect victims of military sexual assault, like Thae, by standing by her when it matters the most. Questions related to the case should be directed to Thae’s civilian attorney, Mr. Gerald Healy, at email@example.com.”
Family wants military to help a Marine cope with a sex assault. Instead, she’s in a Chesapeake brig.
Family Wants Military to Help a Marine Cope with a Sex Assault; Instead, She’s in a Brig
This Marine’s family wanted the Corps to help her cope with a sexual assault. Instead, she’s in the brig
Thae Ohu and the mystery surrounding her incarceration
Marine Raped and Then Sent to Brig for Mental Breakdown
Thae Ohu: update from her family
MJFA on Social:
“Nearly two dozen major provisions offered by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, were adopted during consideration of the annual defense policy bill by the Armed Services Committee this week.”
- Authorize a System of Military Court Protective Orders: Allowing military judges and magistrates to issue court protective orders compliant with the Violence Against Women Act. The new judicial orders provide better protection and enforceability for servicemembers and family members experiencing intimate partner violence.
- Initiate a Sexual Assault Prosecution Pilot Program at the Military Service Academies: A 4-year test of a new Chief Prosecutor would demonstrate whether assigning charging decisions for sexual assault and other special victims’ crimes to an independent expert outside of the chain of command would increase the willingness of survivors to report and the ability of the military justice system to hold perpetrators accountable.
- Establish a Special Inspector General for Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Armed Forces: A dedicated office to investigate underrepresentation of people of color among military officers and high-ranking enlisted servicemembers, racial disparities within the military justice system, and white supremacy among servicemembers.
- Increase Representation of Women and People of Color in the Armed Services: The military would be required to establish specific goals to increase recruiting, accessions, and promotion of minorities and women, and to report to Congress on a plan to achieve these goals and their progress.
- Address Bias by Anonymizing Candidates Before Military Promotion Boards: Redact all personally identifiable information, such as names and photographs, of servicemembers before promotion boards to remove the potential for conscious or unconscious bias.
- Make Violent Extremism a Military Crime: A new article within the Uniform Code of Military Justice would bring greater consequences to servicemembers who perpetrate, plan, threaten, or conspire to commit violent acts with intent to intimidate or coerce a person or class of people, or the intent to impact government action or policy.
- Track White Supremacy among Servicemembers: The military services would be required to improve tracking of white-supremacist and other extremist activity by servicemembers.
- Establish a Military-Civilian Task Force on Domestic Violence: The task force would report to Congress with findings and recommendations to address intimate partner violence among servicemembers and military families, and DoD would be required to collect data on the prevalence of intimate partner violence.
- Establish a Military-wide Safe-to-Report Policy: Clarify that servicemembers may report sexual assault without fear of being disciplined for related minor collateral misconduct such as drinking in the barracks.
- Improve Coordination for Survivors of Sexual Trauma: Ensure a warm handoff for survivors when relocating between stations within the military or when separating from the military and transferring from service providers within DoD to resources within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Improve Oversight of Military Sexual Assault Investigations: Require DoD to report to Congress all military sexual assault investigations that remain open more than 6 months along with the reasons for the delay.
- Improve Oversight of Next Generation Body Armor: Require DoD to report on barriers to fielding next generation body armor that will provide better, gender-specific protection for military servicemembers.
- Expand Child Care Options for Military Families: Address waiting lists, establish competitive pay for providers in high-cost areas, provide housing priority for military spouses that operate Family Care Centers, and expand the Financial Assistance Program to pay for in-home child care, such as by a nanny or au pair. Additionally, it requires 24-hour child care be provided on bases where servicemembers are required to work night shifts.
- Improve Oversight of the Next Generation Interceptor Missile Defense Program: Require an independent cost estimate and two successful flight tests before buying.
- Transparency of Contractor Ownership: Expand reporting requirements to identify the beneficial owner of contractors.
- Strengthen Whistleblower Protections: Clarify that nondisclosure agreements do not prevent employees of government contractors and subcontractors from filing a whistleblower complaint.
- Examine Equal Employment Opportunity: Require the Department of Defense to report on ways to improve the EEO process for DoD civilians.
- Enact the Elijah Cummings Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination Act: Strengthen EEO protections and increase accountability for federal employees who are found to be responsible for discrimination.
- Authorize Incentive Pay for Programming Proficiency: Develop a system to track coding language aptitude and proficiency by military servicemembers and DoD civilians and offer financial incentives for needed programming skills.
- Investigate Suicide at Remote Military Installations: Require a Comptroller General report covering unique challenges of preventing suicide by military servicemembers and military family members at remote bases outside of the contiguous United States.
- Examine Access to Contraception and Family Planning Education. Require DoD to issue a report on barriers experienced by servicemembers in accessing contraception and the status of implementation of new DoD requirements on reproductive health care, such as ensuring access to contraception for the full length of deployment.
Read more here.
Chair Speier NDAA Provisions Address Military Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Racial Justice, Ethics, Military Families, and DoD Oversight and Modernization
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)
Senators Cruz, Gillibrand, Grassley Offer Bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act as Amendment to Defense Bill (July 2, 2020)
Find contact information and how your Senators voted here.
Contact the SASC & HASC Members here.
“U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and I recently announced that we will offer the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act as an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. The Military Justice Improvement Act would professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes by moving the decision over whether to prosecute them to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors.
Despite years of Congressional reforms, thousands of service members are raped and sexually assaulted every year. In many of those cases, the assailant is someone in the survivor’s own chain of command. Only a small fraction of the perpetrators are ever held accountable for their violent crimes. Last year, the Department of Defense announced a record number of sexual assaults reported by or against service members, and yet, less than 10 percent of cases considered for command action ever proceeded to trial. Worse yet, despite repeated efforts to stamp out the scourge of retaliation against military sexual assault survivors, the most recent Pentagon survey found that 64 percent of survivors say they have experienced some form of retaliation for reporting the crime. That figure is statistically unchanged from 2016.”
Read more here.
Chair Jackie Speier NDAA Provisions Address Military Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Racial Justice, Ethics, Military Families, and DoD Oversight and Modernization (July 2, 2020)
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand, Grassley Offer Bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act as Amendment to Defense Bill (July 2, 2020)
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Reintroduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (June 13, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
August: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report from September 11, 2001 to Present (August 31, 2017)
September: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report from September 11, 2001 to Present (September 30, 2017)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Afghanistan)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)